Tough as you need it.
Useful as you want it
In the pocket – because it fits !
Olympus TG-2 it's a continuation and the toughest of the well known Olympus Tough series.
The name of those cameras it's not just empty word, they has to be hard as a rock, strong and brave – this we're expecting. Taking it wherever we get they have to capture our adventure, survive it and then be ready for the next one ! But it isn't only about that, those photos should have quality good enough which we can obtain pressing one or two buttons without thinking a lot about the art of photography. We're on the holidays, aren't we ? We shouldn't waste our priceless time for thinking how to capture those amazing views and moments, to enjoy them later at home.
Whatever it gives in extreme, adrenaline it isn't only what counts and it should be useful in quiet & easy sightseeing days with the family. We don't want to buy another camera for that !
But let say that nothing can do everything. There are no universal cars, frying pans or shoes. If you try to do something like that, you've lost even before you began. The question is- how close to that it can be ? It was always wondering, can I take one small camera and use it during the holiday trip shooting photos wherever I want, obtaining fair good quality ? Thanks to Olympus Poland I got a possibility to find it out using their TG-2 during my trip to south of Spain.
I'm not going to spend the time talking about technical stuff. No crops, no dynamic range and high ISO comparisons. No lens sharpness tests and measuring of AF speed. Internet is full of that. I've just taken this camera on the field and I've taken photos checking how good ( or bad ? ) job it does.
To check it I took Olympus TG-2 with me to south of Spain. I like to take photos and I wanted to record memories from active holidays. Rock climbing, hiking or diving sound like great fun for us. But it's tough for the camera ! Possibility for nice photos it's high, but is it possible to shoot many different pictures in various situations with only one small compact camera ?
It was my first contact with this type of camera. I got use to have big DSLR or atleast high grade compact cameras in this kind of situations. Never with (almost) “point'n'shoot” camera like this.
At the beginning it was strange. There is lack of a lot of useful stuff like RAW formant or Manual mode for example. Camera tries to make us happy with Aperture mode which in this case works like three wheel car. It goes but it isn't what I expected. Choosing this mode we can set fast, middle or low aperture and there are no functions which we can find for example in P or other automatic modes, like sequence shooting ! It's strange because all of this can be fixed just by software, it costs nothing and it can improve a lot.
I imagine a lot of people buy it for the under the water shooting where problem of the correct color is deeper then wherever. It would be perfect to have those RAW files to set everything later at home, safe & dry in front of the PC.
But that's enough, I've changed the camera, let change the way of thinking as well.
In fact it should work like that, and causal user want it ! Buying this camera expects that point and shoot it's enough to capture good photo. It shouldn't be more difficult than setting iAUTO. This “i” means a lot, it's supposed to be that smart that it recognizes what kind of scene we are photographing and it sets everything including choosing correct mode.
And that what I did. Anyway there is no other option. Camera is that intelligent that you can't tell it that something goes wrong. But OK, I’ll let it think – I have holidays. Fair enough.
But why not, if it works ? Because actually it does. Most of pictures had correct exposition, AF quite fast and effective. Colors may a bit to vivid but still OK, and thank to image stabilization and autoISO I got most of photos sharp.
How about the image quality ? It's good enough to A4 prints or show in the internet. That's all about that. I can say that detail level is horrible low on 100% crops of the dark parts of the image. But who cares if carrying ONE SMALL camera I could do photos during climbing, free diving and bring it later to a trip to take basic photos with friends ? This advantage costs, not only the money but the image quality as well, which still is good enough.
But the best fun with this camera starts below the sea level. It's amazing how easy I could get good results. Using 3 scene modes for UW photos I could shoot almost in all situations. It helps a lot and you really don’t have to think much to get nice results so you can focus on having fun in the water !
My favorite was macro mode. Lens fixes at the longest focal length and it can focus on really close objects, flash which is always on helps a lot and provides light to get beautiful colors.
With TG-2 we can dive up to 15m what makes it perfect for everybody who likes snorkeling but even for divers who just do it for fun during holidays is quite OK. In all “wet” business this 15m it isn’t what will limit your photos. Problem again lays in lack of manual settings. Scene modes helps to get nice results quick and easy. But there is no way to get farther than that. There are some simple examples like no option for set the auto focus point. It works quite OK in auto mode, but could be way better with one simple option which allows to set it by myself.
The wide angle fast lens is one of the most beautiful things about this camera. May you still haven’t realized but this is what you need for holiday photos. Let me explain, wide angle means that in one photo fit MORE. There is no point to carry 40x zoom if then it’s impossible to get picture inside of the building, if you have to be one kilometer from your friends shooting group picture or if on the photo you can show only a half of the beautiful building which stands right in front of you.
Well what I can say. If photos aren’t main goal of your trip and you have active life go for it. This camera is perfect, doesn’t meter If you know a lot about photography or not. In the other case depends. It’s good to have something like that, instead of buying next lens compact like this can give a lot of fun and good photos.
Thanks again to Olympus Poland for possibility of testing this nice camera.